Alveolar Nerve Repositioning in San Diego, CA

 Nerve Repositioning at the Center for Oral and Facial Surgery

The oral health professionals at the Center for Oral and Facial Surgery proudly perform nerve repositioning procedures for patients in San Diego and El Cajon, CA. Inferior alveolar nerve repositioning can be necessary for patients who need dental implant procedures. The inferior alveolar nerve, sometimes known as the inferior dental nerve, is responsible for recognizing sensations in one’s lower lip and chin. Before any dental implant procedure, our team will assess a patient’s oral health and structures to determine the best way to ensure success. In rare cases, we will suggest nerve repositioning to avoid any complications. Contact us today to learn more about why the procedure is necessary, who may need it, and how it is performed.

Understanding the Inferior Alveolar Nerve

The inferior alveolar nerve is a collection of nerve fibers that emanates from the mandibular nerve. Situated near the lower jawbone, the inferior dental nerve crosses to the upper side portion of the mandible and serves as a nerve extension for the mylohyoid muscle that comprises the bottom portion of the oral cavity. It also supplies an extension to the digastric, a small muscle directly below the mandible. The inferior alveolar nerve enters the mandibular canal through the mandibular foramen and provides sensory branches to the bottom row of one’s teeth. The branches that make up this network are known as the inferior dental plexus, and they supply sensory information to the teeth, chin, and lower lip.

Why Nerve Repositioning is Necessary

When an individual suffers jawbone loss or deterioration, it can affect more than the bone in his or her mouth. When a person loses his or her teeth, the jawbone resorbs. As this happens, the amount of bone material above the inferior alveolar nerve diminishes, leaving it vulnerable. While the nerve itself does not move, it appears to shift closer to the surface because of the shrinking bone. In severe cases, it may be lying on top of the bone, directly below the gum tissue. As a result of pressure on the nerve, it can be extremely painful to wear conventional dentures or dental implants. Nerve repositioning is most common among patients who are missing their two back molars or second premolars.

Candidates for Inferior Alveolar Nerve Repositioning

Our team of surgeons at the Center for Oral and Facial Surgery in San Diego and El Cajon, CA can evaluate patients who think they may require nerve repositioning to determine if it is appropriate. Bone resorption can significantly weaken the jaw if socket preservation measures were not taken at the time of tooth extraction. If a patient does not have sufficient bone quality or density, he or she will require bone grafting or a sinus lift procedure before receiving dental implants. Prior to placing an implant in the back of the lower jaw, our surgeons use CT scans to determine bone quality and whether there is enough space around the inferior dental nerve to continue with treatment. If not, we will recommend the procedure to prevent pain, numbness, or other serious issues that can occur from a dental implant coming in contact with the nerve.

Understanding the Nerve Repositioning Procedure

There are two types of inferior alveolar nerve repositioning procedures. Our team of specialists is happy to go over the differences for each patient to determine which is the best approach.

Traditional Surgery
Most often, traditional nerve repositioning occurs in conjunction with a dental implant procedure. The Center for Oral and Facial Surgery provides the option of local anesthesia or sedation to ensure patients’ comfort during traditional nerve repositioning. We then proceed by making an incision in the outer portion of his or her cheek to access the underlying tissue. Next, our surgeon will create a tiny window in the lower mandible to reach the inferior dental nerve. After carefully pulling the nerve bundle to the side to avoid contact, we place dental implants in the jaw. Following placement, we move the nerve bundle back into place. Finally, we will fill the open space with bone grafting material and close the incision.

A newer technique that requires specialized training, piezosurgery uses high-frequency vibrations to incise bone. Its appeal is an ability to spare surrounding soft tissues such as gum, skin, and nerves. Additionally, it causes less trauma and has a shorter recovery time.

Contact us for Inferior Alveolar Nerve Repositioning Today

If bone resorption jeopardizes your inferior alveolar nerve, making it a hindrance for receiving dental implants, visit the Center for Oral and Facial Surgery for a nerve repositioning procedure in San Diego or El Cajon, CA. We have been serving Southern California since 1927, and have state-of-the-art facilities equipped with highly-skilled surgeons to guarantee the success of oral procedures. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.